Healthful Treats

Whether you need food rewards as part of your training regimine or are an owner who just can’t resist treating your horse, there are some things you should consider in choosing your treats.


Many horses gladly chow down on donuts, cookies or white bread sandwiches.  The market is also flooded with a variety of starch/grain and sugar loaded treats that there is no denying the horses love.  However, these choices cause glucose and insulin surges.  They also promote the growth of acid producing bacteria in the mouth that contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.  There is certainly nothing like these in the horse’s ancestral natural diet.

An important thing to realize is that while most horses have a sweet tooth they also enjoy many other things that we would not find particularly appealing but the horses relish and are much better choices nutritionally.  These include:

  •  Alfalfa cubes or pellets
  • Carrots
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dried split green peas
  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Bananas
  • Apple
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Watermelon
  • Squash
  • Green beans
  • Rose hips

Combine multiple choices for a unique equine trail mix.


About Dr. Kellon

Graduate of University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. Owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions,, industry and private nutritional consultations, online nutritional courses. Staff Veterinary Expert at Uckele Health and Nutrition.
This entry was posted in Equine Nutrition. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Healthful Treats

  1. If you give a horse in Hawaii any of those “treats” listed other than alfalfa cubes, you might as well put a gun to their head and pull the trigger for all the pain they’ll go through. The enzymes in the horse’s cecum here in Hawaii are constantly on “high sugar level alert” and laminitis is at epidemic levels. Mother Nature never intended horses to eat raisins, watermelons, carrots or nuts!! Why take the chance? Be safe!

    • uckeleequine says:

      Nature never intended for horses to eat alfalfa or dried hay (“grass jerky”) either. Laminitis is primarily the result of insulin resistance, which is a genetically determined trait. The treats mentioned in treat amounts (small handful) would not have any dangerous effects on a normal horse or even on an IR horse if the base diet was effectively controlling their insulin resistance. Extremely sensitive or poorly controlled horses may have to avoid some items, but this is not true for the majority of horses.

      Dr. Kellon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.